From the Erzgebirge to Potosi
A History of Geology and Mining Since the 1500's
This book traces the history of mining and geology from the 1500's in the valuable silver mines of the Erzgebirge Mts of eastern Germany to the rich silver mines of Bolivia, including Potosi. With emphasis on the famous first mining geologist/engineer, Georgius Agricola who wrote his treatise on mining and smelting techniques, De Re Metallica, during the Renaissance and the contributions of some well-known geologists whose theories proliferated during the Industrial Revolution, the close connection between society and the natural sciences is examined. A major section on the engineering application of mapping at a large Canadian open pit mine demonstrates modern geological and geotechnical thinking.
The powerful tools of both the miners and the geologists, dialectical and historical materialism are explained in detail in their relation to the earth's processes, the mining cycle and social redress. The environmental movement and the struggle of the miners for better working conditions and a more humane social system are discussed as is the comparison between the equitable Inca mit'a labour system and the corrupted mit'a of the Conquistadores. Richly illustrated, with 74 figures, and images of the famous scientists and maps and photographs to explain technical points make it highly readable.
Not sure what to put here as I guess I can't have a review until the book is out
Sean Daly is the son of a well-known BC (British Columbia, Canada) salmon fisherman and he learned his respect for the environment from his Dad and also his love of history and politics. Strong interest in an old mine near his coastal hometown of Pender Harbour led him to university studies in geology and mining engineering. The study of mineral deposits led him to travel extensively in Latinamerica and visit famous mines like Potosi in Bolivia and Chuquicamata in Chile. Recent travel to Ireland, the Isle of Man and Spain made him aware of how ancient the art and science of mining is dating back at least to the times of the Roman Empire in Europe. Discovery of the ancient treatise, De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola fascinated him with the accounts of the origin of many mining techniques and the use of applied geology in the 1500's in Europe. In addition, learning from the 'school of hard knocks' at the Highland Valley Copper Mine in BC for 19 years taught him modern mining and geological and geotechnical practices, which he compares with the ancient techniques, in this book.
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